Monday, June 26, 2006

What homosexuals do

Fr. Joseph O'Leary (whose comment box signature is "Spirit of Vatican II"), is Associate Professor of English Literature at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, and a Catholic priest who dissents from Catholic Church teaching on very many points, especially pertaining to Church moral (read: sexual) teaching. Another Catholic priest, Fr. J. Scott Newman (on Fr. Al Kimel's Pontifications weblog) once called him "a closet Anglican on the Catholic payroll," which may be an apt description for him, as he seems quite the Anglophile, enamored of the aesthetic refinement of Anglican liturgy, what he regards as the non-doctrinaire and exegetically-based Anglican homiletics, and the openness to trendy liberal agendas one finds in the Anglican communion -- including openness to gays.

O'Leary waxes eloquent over the prospect of a day when sexually active gays and lesibans will be welcomed into the bosom also of the Catholic Church and their traditionally forbidden life-style embraced, "in Christian charity," as a 'natural' and 'ordinary' form of erotic love. He writes:
"Jesus declared many things not to be sin or unclean that the Pharisees regarded as sin or unclean. I fail to see why this paradigm does not apply to [ECUSA] Bishop Schori's view that homosexuality is not a disorder, an anomaly or something God does not like, but in fact a gift, made for love, like heterosexuality."
So what was once thought to be unclean is to be declared clean, and what was once classed among "sins that cry out to heaven for God's judgment," is now declassified as sin and elevated to the level of a divine gift. Again, he writes:
"Future generations (like very many in the present) will wonder 'what was the big deal?' when they look back on how we wrestled with the ethics of homosexuality etc."
His language can take ebullient flights of ecstasy, as when in a recent comment box, he enthused:
"A wave to the 400,000 who marched in the Gay Pride event in Paris and to the 200,000 spectators!"
So it's no secret where Fr. O'Leary's sympathies lie. Perhaps his superiors should take notice, because it gets even better. (Atiyah, here's your chance to check out whether Fr. O'Leary's views would in fact be approved by his superiors. You questioned my judgment on the matter. Why don't you find out for yourself. Pick up your phone. Of course, O'Leary has nothing at all to fear, since, he assures us, his Catholicism is above reproach and he cannot be pinned down on a single point of heterodoxy. But pick up your phone anyway, Atiyah. Go ahead. Make my day.)
Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello,
Apostolic Nuncio to Japan
Tokyo 102-0075, 9-2 Sanban-cho, Chiyoda-ku
Telephone: (81-3)3263-6851
Fax: 3263.60.60

Most Rev. Peter Takeo Okada
Archbishop of Tokyo
3-16-15, Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku,
TOKYO, 112-0014
Tel.03-3943-2301
As soon as traditional Catholics and/or other Christians begin to mount a defense of traditional sexual ethics against his views, however, Fr. O'Leary objects to the 'biologism' of their views, which are "focused heavily on the biology of anal intercourse" (a common refrain). He recently complained:
"Must we always be in biology 101 ... or rather out in the schoolyard scoffing at [the more sophisticated levels of such science] -- when the dreaded gay topic raises its head on this weblog?"
There are a couple of ironies here. First, as anybody who reads the comboxes (comment boxes) of this weblog knows, it is O'Leary himself who repeatedly steers the topic of conversation, no matter what the thread of the post, back to the subject of homosexuality. I don't know of a soul among the commentators on this weblog who would dispute this -- including his supporters, like Atiyah and Grega (I don't even know if O'Leary would dispute it). When I post an essay on this topic, it is almost invariably in response to some irrepressible issue that Fr. O'Leary has raised (unless it is something in the news worthy of note).

Second, when O'Leary complains about 'biology,' or 'biologism,' or being stuck in 'Biology 101,' it's because he's wanting to escape the inevitable biological rootedness of gender and move the discussion into flights of spiritual abstraction where he can talk more freely about "love" unencumbered by the obvious facts one can't not know about the biological rootedness of gender that pertain to natural law. Of course, partisans of homosexuality despise this. Hence, the derision of "Biology 101" and condescending dismissiveness of the reference to schoolyard scoffing of schoolboys toward anything of more sophistication.

The other thing that's ironic is that it's very often O'Leary himself who drags the discussion into the gutter (one recalls references made in his exchanges in former debates with 'Dreadnought' and his photographs, for example). But even in terms of sheer scatological focus, O'Leary isn't one to shy away, as when he writes:
"NOTE that [Budziszewski's] critique of anal sex changed grounds in mid-flight here. He began with the unitive nature of vaginal sex, then, knowing that many gay men claim to find a unitive significance in anal sex too, he shifted to the idea of Life.

He made much of the anus as a place of decay. But the vagina also is a place of decay (urine) as is the male member. 'Love has pitched his tent in the place of excrement'. Life and death go together.
"
So Fr. Joseph O'Leary wishes to promote the view that anal sex is on a par with vaginal sex of the matrimonial covenant here -- an interesting obsession for a Catholic priest. Yet he wants to assure everyone that he's reasonable. He understands how anal sex could be understood as reprehensible, depending on the circumstances and how one lookes at it, just as it might also be understood as "glorious and godgiven" (his words). Accordingly, he writes:
"Anal intercourse can be 'operose and diabolical' (Shelley) as practices in British public schools or as a contraceptive method; but many gays claim to find in its more positive meanings. You can 'read' sexual acts through the prism of Sade or of Lawrence; in the former they are instruments of degradation, in the latter they can be that but they can also be celebrations of the glorious, godgiven life of the human body etc."
So it's all relaive. It just depends. Under the right circumstances, given the right 'reading,' anal sex can also be "the glorious, godgiven life of the human body." Did you get that, Your Excellency, Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello? Your Excellency, Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada? This is your man in Tokyo, at Sophia University, proclaiming the Gospel of sodomy, the Evangel of rectal-anal sex, for the unwashed masses of the world to hear. Should we rejoice?

O'Leary says that anal sex can be "the glorious, godgiven life of the human body." Oh, really? Let's examine this. It's nasty business, and few may wish to follow us into this nasty little hell of a pit that Fr. O'Leary here wishes to elevate to the level of sanctity. But for those who want honest answers to honest questions, it may be worth the initial revulsion to push through and see what the facts are. Few people like to think about what homosexuals do. What do they do behind closed doors?

Surveys indicate that about 90% of gays have engaged in rectal intercourse, and about two-thirds do so regularly. In a six-month long daily sexual diary study (L. Corey and K.K. Holmes, "Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis A in Homosexual Men," New England Journal of Medicine, 1980:302:435-38.6), gays averaged 110 sex partners and 68 rectal encounters per year (more recent studies would likely show higher statistics). The anus must be lubricated enough to allow penetration. Often fingers and/or tongue are used to stretch and moiten the opening. Either the partner's sliva or an artificial lubricant may be used. Saliva, however, contains many germs foreign to the rectum. During rectal intercourse, the rectum therefore becomes a receptacle for a cocktail of 1) saliva and its germs and/or an artificial lubricant, 2) the recipient's own feces, 3) whatever germs, infections, or substances the penis has on it, and 4) the seminal fluid of the penitrant. Since sperm readily penetrate the extremely thin rectal wall (only one cell's width) causing immunological damage, and tearing or brusing the anal wall is very common during rectal sex, these substances have a high possibility of gaining direct access to the blood stream. In contrast to vaginal intercourse (in which sperm cannot penetrate the multilayered vagina and no fecal matter is present), rectal intercourse is probably the most sexually common way to speading hepatitis B & C, HIV, syphilis and other blood-borne diseases (G.W. Manligit, et al., "Chronic Immune Stimulation by Sperm Alloantigens," Journal of the American Medial Association, 1984:251:237-38.8). The risk of tearing the anal wall during rectal sex mounts exponentially with practices like "fisting," where the hand and arm are inserted into the rectum, or sex 'toys' (bottles, dildos, vegetables, even rodents) are inserted into the anus. The prospect of ending up with a colostomy bag for the duration of one's life is quite real.

That's just the rectal sex. Then there's fecal sex. About 80% of gays admit to licking and/or inserting their tongues into the anus of their partners (rimming) and thus ingesting medically significant amounts of fecal matter. In the aforementioned diary study, 70% engaged in this activity (50% regularly) over six months. The result was that the annual incidence of hepatitis A in homosexual men was 22%, in contrast to no incidence of hepatitus A among heterosexual men. I don't suppose we need really dwell on gay oral sex, urine sex, the "golden showers" reported in Kinsey's studies (drinking urine or being urinated upon); sadomasochism; pederasty -- sex with minors, admitted to by some 25% of white gays (A Bell and M. Weinberg, Homosexualities, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1978.18), sex in public restrooms, sex in gay baths, etc. Glory upon glory ...

But I would like to rejoin an argument tendered by O'Leary, when he takes issue with Budziszewski, saying:
He made much of the anus as a place of decay. But the vagina also is a place of decay (urine) as is the male member. 'Love has pitched his tent in the place of excrement'. Life and death go together."
Is this really so? Take the AIDS virus. It's actually very fragile. It can't survive when it comes in contact with the air, and can be transmitted only through the blood stream (contaminated blood transfusion, genital ulcers, etc.) -- or (you guessed it) through the mucosa of the anus. Nature (and nature's God) provides two very different systems of operation for the vagina and the anus. The vagina is normally open to the outside world so the sperm of the male can be deposited inside the female body through sexual intercourse. The vagina is virtually impermeable to viruses, because nature has provided that the vaginal mucosa has no lymphatic network, and the lymphatic network in our body is made to absorb substances. The rectum, by contrast, is designed precisely to absorb up to the last possible bit of useful nutrients from the food we have eaten and digested. There is an enormous lymphatic network in the mucosa of the rectum. The rectum is made to absorb as much as possible from whatever passes through it. If the vagina could accept viruses, women would be dying like flies from every sort of viral disease imaginable. Women survive because nature has designed the vagina for the reception of sperm but not viruses. The rectum was designed for the absorption of nutrients from digested food before its excretion, and clearly not for introducing anything from the outside. Hence, the use of the anus for intercourse is quite simply unnatural, contrary to nature, counter to the purposes for which human anatomy was naturally designed.

Natural law. It's just not that complicated. St. Paul had it right in the First Chapter of his Letter to the Romans. Church tradition had it right. Church teaching has it right. Homosexuals may enmesh themselves in emotional entanglements that ape all the emotions one finds in marriage. Who can doubt that these emotions are utterly real? But same-sex relationships simply are not marriage, any more than rectal sex is the vaginal intercourse of a husband and wife ordained by nature and nature's God from the beginning. We all know this. We know it, whatever lengths we may go to in order to repress this knowledge in the desparate attempt to evade it.

Budziszewski speaks of the "Five Furies" (remorse, confession, atonement, reconciliation, and justification). What does he mean? Ordinarily the normal outlet of remorse is to flee from sin; of the need for confession, to admit what one has done; of atonement, to pay the debt; of reconciliation, to restore the bonds one has broken; and of justification, to get back in the right. But if the Furies are denied payment in wonted coin, they exact it in whatever coin comes nearest, he says, driving the sinner's life yet further out of kilter. Accordingly, he writes:
We flee not from wrong but from thinking about it [pseudo-remorse]. We compulsively confess every detail of our story, except the moral [pseudo-confession]. We punish ourselves again and again, offering every sacrifice except the one demanded [pseudo-atonement]. We simulate the restoration of broken intimacy, by seeking companions as guilty as ourselves [pseudo-reconciliation]. And we seek not to become just, but to justify ourselves [pseudo-justification].
[Acknowledgements: Thanks to the folks at Family Research Institute, P.O. Box 2091, Washington, DC 20013, for the information they provided on homosexual practices through their pamphlet, Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do (1992), and for the gentleman (whose name I cannot remember) whose letter to the Editor of New Oxford Review several years ago furnished much of the medical information on the lymphatic system surrounding the male digestive tract and other relevant information.]


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